Why Losing Weight Is So Difficult After You Turn 40

Even well-toned actresses like Charlize Theron have discovered that losing weight is tougher as you get older. Here’s the science and what you can do about it. It’s going to be harder to lose weight as you get older. That’s just a fact of life. But what if you’re over the age of 40 and you really do need to drop some pounds? Perhaps you have a weight-related health problem.

Maybe you were laid up recovering from a procedure for a number of weeks or months. Maybe your exercise routine was interrupted by an injury.

Or perhaps you’re Charlize Theron, a 42-year-old Academy Award-winning actress who ate In-N-Out for breakfast and macaroni and cheese at 2 a.m. to put on 50 pounds for a role and suddenly found it a lot harder to lose that weight than it had been 15 years earlier. The reasons why it’s so hard can vary from person to person, particularly due to the role of genetics in weight gain. But reduced metabolism in older age is a major factor, as are changes in hormones, particularly in women going through menopause.

And lifestyle-related factors play a role as well. Older men and women may be more stressed and less physically able to exercise the way they used to when they were younger. However, if you keep those underlying causes in mind, it’s not totally impossible.

“It’s often not imagined that our weight has changed — or even the proportions of weight distribution — even if the scale number stays the same,” Susan Weiner, a registered dietitian and nutritionist and certified diabetes educator, told Healthline. “It’s a real thing. You’re not imagining it.”


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